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Man arrested after calling police on stolen cell phone

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A 29-year-old Duluth man was arrested early Wednesday after calling police with a cell phone from a purse he's accused of stealing.

A reporter told Duluth police Sgt. Don Boso that it didn't appear that the suspect arrested by Officer Kristina Schulte early Wednesday has a prior criminal record in Minnesota.

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"If this is his start, he should end his career now,'' Boso deadpanned.

According to police, a 26-year-old woman said the man asked her for a cigarette at Horseshoe Billiards in Lincoln Park/West Duluth about 12:22 a.m. Wednesday. When she went into her purse to get a cigarette, the man grabbed her purse and ran north on 25th Avenue West.

The stolen purse contained a wallet, cell phone, Social Security card, driver's license and photographs, but no credit cards, cash or checks.

At 1:46 a.m., the suspect called police from the woman's cell phone saying he was "jumped'' in the 1700 block of West Superior Street.

Officer Schulte responded. She looked at her computer screen and saw that the call originated from the cell phone in the purse that had been reported stolen about 90 minutes earlier.

She asked to see the cell phone and the suspect tried to discreetly drop it and hide it, Boso said.

The man had no apparent injuries from being "jumped.'' He was intoxicated and wanted a ride home, Boso said. He claimed to have borrowed the phone from someone else.

However, the victim identified the man as the person who stole her purse.

When asked where this ranks among dumb crimes, Boso said: "This is right up there. You don't get any better than this. You just don't.''

The suspect was being held in the St. Louis County Jail Wednesday. He is expected to be arraigned on a theft charge today in St. Louis County District Court. The News Tribune generally does not identify those accused of crime until they have been formally charged.

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